Nick Shell
October 24, 2018

This week's spotlight features one of our amazing staff biostatisticians, Samuel Nwosu.  Read on to learn more about his work and contributions to medical research through biostatistics . . . 

What is your research focus and what have been the major findings so far in your research? 
My main research collaboration has been working with the International Study of Comparative Health Effectiveness with Medical and Invasive Approaches (ISCHEMIA) clinical trial group.  This has been a 6 year ongoing NIH grant funded study, with a primary goal of determining whether an invasive (INV) strategy of routine early cardiac catheterization will reduce the incidence of major adverse cardiovascular death as compared to an initial conservative (CON) medical therapy approach.  The study spans across 38 countries with over 300 sites enrolling patients.  This is a great team to be part of, there are seven principle collaborators and 16 collaborating research institutes, all having vast knowledge and experience in cardiovascular research. 

The study is scheduled to be completed towards the end of 2019 and we are currently working to finalize the main manuscripts.  In July of this past year, while outlining the methods and procedures of the trial, our study group did publish the ISCHEMIA Design Paper in the American Heart Journal (AHJ) which was a great accomplishment.  

Our group is also working on a ancillary ISCHEMIA trial called the Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) trial.  The primary objective of this trial is to determine whether an invasive strategy of cardiac catheterization will reduce the composite endpoint of death or nonfatal myocardial infarction in patients with stable ischemic heart disease and advanced chronic kidney disease.  This study is also a multinational trial including 30 countries and over 100 sites.
With ischemia being one of the leading causes in heart disease, its great knowing that this research can change how they diagnose and treat this condition as we move into the future.


What was your draw to statistics and/or Vanderbilt?
It was almost serendipitous how I got into the field of biostatistics.  I have somewhat always had an affinity for math and how it relates to everyday life.  I graduated with an undergraduate degree in mathematics, uncertain which career field I should pursue with my degree.  I researched different fields from accounting to economics, then by chance one of my undergraduate professors asked me if I liked statistics and suggested I look into the field of biostatistics.  As I researched the more about biostatistics I saw how I could bridge my background in mathematics with statistics and apply it to the field of health research.  Upon finishing my last semester in graduate school, my advisor forwarded me the job opening for a biostatistician II position within Vanderbilt's biostatistics department, I applied and I was able to start my career as a biostatistician.


What makes Vanderbilt special in your experiences of collaborating with others?
What I enjoy about my job is the opportunity to work with so many talented people and the ability to be involved in cutting edge research.  I've been able to work on a variety of different collaborations from PTSD research to multinational clinical trials.  I like the fact that knowing the research I am involved with can enrich the scientific world and benefit people at the same time.  Plus, it is also gratifying that I work in a department that fosters growth and high importance on continuing education.  I've been able to grow as a biostatistician due to working in such a great environment.


Tell us about your life outside of Vanderbilt.
I am married to Brionni Nwosu, a professor at the Relay Graduate School of Education.  We have two beautiful girls named Kanaya (4 years old) and Kalia (15 months old) who keep our lives filled with joy and excitement.  As a family we enjoy spending time playing at the park, visiting the animals at the zoo, or viewing all the sea and water creatures at the aquarium.


Finally, what is something about you that most people at Vanderbilt still don't know about you?
I enjoy the occasional adventurous/extreme activity from time to time- whether it is zip lining, scuba diving, bungee jumping, high speed Go-Karting, or off-roading on dune buggies, I'm game.